British Cycling: Transgender athletes to be banned from elite women’s races in new policy

British Cycling have updated their policies around transgender athletes in women’s races

Following the recent success of Austin Killips in the Tour of the Gila, the question around transgender participation has been rife. Killips became the first transgender woman to secure the title in New Mexico and won the race 89 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor taking home a prize of $53,000.

However, her success was met with immediate backlash from the cyclists and athletes around the world and British Cycling have now weighed in on the action, updating their policies around the participation of transgender athletes.

In April 2022, the policy around transgender and non-binary participation was suspended so a full review, including the medical science, could be carried out and now they are hopeful that the two new policies will be implemented in full by the end of 2023.

Here is all you need to know about the new policies...

Competitive Activity

British Cycling will bring in an ‘Open’ category alongside a ‘Female category’. This means the current men’s category will be consolidated into the ‘Open’ category.

A statement from the organisation said: “Transgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals and those whose sex was assigned male at birth will be eligible to compete in the ‘Open’ category. The ‘Female’ category will remain in place for those whose sex was assigned female at birth and transgender men who are yet to begin hormone therapy.

Austin Killips (R) won the recent Tour of the Gila in New MexicoAustin Killips (R) won the recent Tour of the Gila in New Mexico
Austin Killips (R) won the recent Tour of the Gila in New Mexico

“At this stage they will be eligible to compete in the ‘Open’ category only, and should ensure that they continue to adhere to the requirements of UK Anti-Doping. Those whose sex was assigned female at birth are also able to compete in the ‘Open’ category if they so wish.

Existing Race Licences held by transgender women will continue to be valid until the point at which the new policy comes into force, and we are working closely with those individuals to support their continued participation in events following the change in policy.”

Non-competitive activity

The policy for non-competitive activity is slightly different and the governing body says it “builds on our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, Our Ride, and re-asserts our commitment to inclusion for trans and non-binary riders across our non-competitive activities.”

This includes British Cycling’s Breeze programmes, a women-only community programme, which continues to remain open and inclusive for transgender women and non-binary people.

“Trans and non-binary people can also continue to participate in a broad range of British Cycling activities in line with their gender identities, including: club and coach-led activities, ability based race programmes (such as Go-Race events), community programmes, Talent Development Centres and non-competitive events such as sportives.”

What has been said?

In the statement, the British Cycling CEO said: ““Our new policies are the product of a robust nine-month review process which we know will have a very real-world impact for our community both now and in the future. We understand that this will be particularly difficult for many of our trans and non-binary riders, and our commitment to them today is twofold.

“First, we will continue to assess our policy annually and more frequently as the medical science develops, and will continue to invite those impacted to be an integral part of those conversations.

Second, we will also continue to ensure that our non-competitive activities provide a positive and welcoming environment, where everyone can feel like they belong and are respected in our community, and take action to eradicate discrimination from the sport.

“I am confident that we have developed policies that both safeguard the fairness of cyclesport competition, whilst ensuring all riders have opportunities to participate.”

The statement also adds that they are steadfast in their zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and discrimination.

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